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Festive baking this Christmas
No.1 The Strand Chef
It seems every year is the same – all of a sudden there’s a slight panic when you realise how close Christmas is.
There’s always lots to do – and for some reason it all has to be done before the big day.
When it comes to festive baking, cakes are often already made by now and shortbread and fruit mince pies are the next item on the agenda.
Thoughts of all the Christmas’ past and all the countless turkey, ham, sherry trifle, steamed puddings and pavlova that I’ve devoured remind me of how repetitive traditional festive food is.
So to change things up this year I’m doing a few dishes from another country’s traditional festive baking. Honey cakes from Greece contain some of my favourite products – honey, yoghurt and olive oil.
And since we grow fabulous macadamia nuts here in the Bay I’ve changed from using the traditional walnuts to macadamia instead, with a great tasting result.
This week’s recipe will make about 30 small honey cakes so you can solve some of the present-buying problems by wrapping them some up in cellophane and gifting them to some of your sweet-toothed friends.
Greek honey cakes
1 cup melted butter
1 cup light olive oil
1 kg self-raising flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
Grated peel from 2 oranges
1 small tsp baking soda
1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
2 cups sugar
3 cups water
3 cups honey
Juice from one lemon
Cinnamon and nuts for sprinkling
In a large bowl place the flour and sugar and make a well in the middle.
Whisk up the butter with the oil then mix in, adding the spices, grated orange peel, baking soda and the yoghurt.
Knead well on a bench to form a pliable dough, then add the chopped nuts and divide up the dough into even pieces.
Roll these into small cigar shapes and place well apart on an oven tray and bake at 170 degrees Celsius for about 25 minutes until golden brown.
Prepare the syrup by boiling the water and sugar and lemon juice together for 10 minutes, add in the honey and simmer for two-three minutes then keep warm.
Only once the cakes are well cooled can you dip them, a few at a time, with a slotted spoon in the hot syrup then transfer to a cooling rack and finish with a dusting of cinnamon and chopped macadamia nuts.
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